I learned how to play KenKen this week. The rules are fairly straightforward,

1.The numbers you can use in a puzzle depend on the size of the grid. If it’s a 3 x 3 grid, you’ll use the numbers 1–3. In a 4 x 4 grid, use numbers 1–4. In a 5 x 5 grid… well, you can probably figure it out from there.

2.The heavily-outlined groups of squares in each grid are called “cages.” In the upper-left corner of each cage, there is a “target number” and a math operation (+, –, x, ÷).

3.Fill in each square of a cage with a number. The numbers in a cage must combine—in any order, using only that cage’s math operation—to form that cage’s target number.

Example: Your target number is 5, your operation is addition, you’re using the numbers 1–4, and the cage is made up of two squares. You could fill in 2 and 3 (because 2 + 3 = 5) or 1 and 4 (1 + 4 = 5). But which number goes in which square? Read the next instruction!

4.Important: You may not repeat a number in any row or column. You can repeat a number within a cage, as long as those repeated numbers are not in the same row or column.

5.There is only one solution to each KENKEN puzzle. As long as you follow the rules above, you’ll know you got it right!

I’m still working on the 3X3 and 4X4 games, but it has been a lot of fun working on the logic behind the game. It seems a great way to introduce more math into everyday life in a fun way. There are several places to play on-line here and here. There is also a free app that plays quite nice. Give it a try, I hope you like it as much as I have.

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